Thomas passed from this earthly life on April 5th with his family by his side. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 26, 1937, to Herbert and Marie Witte. The family moved to St Joseph, Michigan, to be closer to loved ones. Growing up with his friends, Tom's adventurous boyhood included being in the Boy Scouts, participating in the civil air patrol, where he went up in the planes with pilots on search and rescue missions, and exploring the St Joe River with his boat. His childhood was active and fun, but he established a strong work ethic, working two paper routes and holding retail jobs in high school. Before High School graduation, Tom enlisted in the Navy Reserves. After graduation, he went active in the U.S. Army, spending time in Okinawa and Guam. Back in Michigan, Tom graduated from Western Michigan University in Marketing and, in 1966, married Barbara Stearns.
Tom worked for Shell Oil company and then the AAA Motor Club, which took them to Washington DC. Tom oversaw a tire and battery program, which entailed much traveling. Their two children were born in Maryland, and then the family moved back to Michigan, where Tom began an antique tool business. This combined his love for history, art, retail, and travel. His search for tools brought him to England numerous times. He sold museum-grade tools in his retail shop, in antique shows, and through his catalogs and auctions, which he held in Indianapolis and Paw Paw, MI. During his thirty years of business, he was a well-known and very respected dealer of tools and decoys. Tom also served his community through the Lions Club and the Fire department for many years. During their fifty-six years of marriage, Tom and Barbara had fun traveling, raising their children, and enjoying their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Tom was a person of integrity, honesty, kindness, and faith.
Preceding him in death were his parents, brother Marvin and son David. Surviving are wife Barbara, daughter Suzanne Moyle, Emily Witte (Wife of David), grandchildren Ashley (Dennis) Kordish, Brett Moyle, Olivia (Tyler Henry), Hannah Witte (Payton Knapp), great-grandchildren Valerie and Xander Kordish, and niece and nephews.
A mass of Christian burial will be held at St John Bosco Catholic Church, 23830 Front St., Mattawan, at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 15th, to celebrate Tom's life. A luncheon will follow mass. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in care of St John Bosco church or to the Antwerp Sunshine Library.
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